Page:The imperial peace; an ideal in European history.djvu/10

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The Imperial Peace

now divided into a smaller number of larger states. The area of common intercourse is wider, and is nearly coextensive with the European continent, besides embracing a number of extra- European states; but is Europe freer from mutual jealousies and ambitions of rival states than it was? For my own part I venture to believe that it is freer, and that it has made distinct progress towards the goal of human endeavour. It is, indeed, true that Europe is now divided, so to say, into a small number of fortified camps and armies ready for war, or nearly ready. It is true that war is now waged with the entire strength and the whole manhood and the collected resources of a nation, whereas in Dante's time war was waged with tiny armies, while the mass of the people looked on and applauded the winner. To imitate the words of the Roman satirist, nations staked of old their pocket-money on the chances of the game, whereas now they stake their entire fortune. Yet we have moved onwards towards that goal of justice and freedom which Dante describes as the end of human effort.

The remedy for the unrest and disorder of his time, as Dante dreamed, lay in the universal Empire. Before his eyes there unfolded itself a bright vision, in which the supreme monarch, high above the smaller states and their rulers, exercised a system of law and justice and order to which all the petty kings and governments must submit.

This monarch has no selfish aims, for he has nothing to desire: his monarchy is world-wide, bounded only by the circumambient ocean; and there is nothing left for him to conquer or to gain or to covet. There is none with whom he can quarrel: there is no rival of whom he can be jealous: there is no opponent for him to fight against. He stands alone; and for him happiness must lie in